Bristow in Creek County, Oklahoma — The American South (West South Central)
Bristow Pioneers Plaza
[There are several dozen family histories on permanent markers on the plaza. One marker is transcribed, while the names on the other markers are listed for future reference]
Only a little inquiry is needed to establish the fact that Joe Abraham was one of the first and foremost in the early commercial and cultural development of Bristow. Born March 20, 1865, he came to America in 1896 from his native Beirut, Syria (now Lebanon), arriving in New York City through Ellis Island. There, officials advised him to change his name from Saleem Ibrahim Nahra to Joe Abraham which would be easier for people to remember. He had only $10.50, and a friend in Buffalo, New York loaned him $15 worth of merchandise to sell. He kept sending money back to his friend to buy additional goods as he peddled his way westward, living on the road and selling to farmers and settlers. Several months later he arrived in St. Louis, Missouri and stayed there for 18 months, peddling into the countryside. Joe saved $200 which he sent to his father in Beirut to repay him for his passage to America. In 1898 he headed westward again and eventually settled in Oklahoma Indian Territory in Bristow, which was just beginning, with three or four small buildings and dirt streets. Joe opened his own store
Joe developed a penchant for land, and it wasn't long until he owned many farms and thousands of acres of oil and gas interests. He drilled a large gas well in 1908, and for a time his Bristow Gas Company supplied most of the lighting and heating gas for Bristow. His main interest besides real estate was the cotton business. At one time, he owned or operated twelve gins and became one of the largest cotton dealers in the South.
Although Joe was unable to read or write, when it came to arithmetic, his mind was as keen as an adding machine. He employed a bookkeeper but seldom needed to refer to records to recall at will the details of his businesses, even complicated fractions necessary to figure large
Fannie Longacre moved with her parents from Missouri to Bristow on January 14, 1899 and worked in their boarding house where she met Joe. She was of Scotch-Irish, English and Indian descent. The Longacres were direct descendents of Sir Francis Drake of England and Pocohontas, who was an Algonquin Indian of the Delaware tribe in Virginia. Fannie loved to play the harmonica for square dances. She and Joe were married June 18, 1899, and their first home was in the back of Joe's store. Fannie was a good mother, the matriarch of the family, and noted for her even temperament. Those close to her cannot recall her saying an unkind word about anyone. She was more reserved than Joe, and they made a good match. She read the newspaper to him every day. They had five children: Louis, Herbert, Francile, Jack and Pauline. Joe's businesses in later years were built around his three sons, and Fannie was active in the management until she retired in 1956. Joe had an outstanding characteristic that those who knew him best understood and loved in him: His lavish devotion to his family. His wife and children were everything to him.
Joe was a devout Catholic
During a visit to his homeland in 1921, Joe arranged for the construction of a school in his native village, Badoon. Yearly he sent funds to pay the teachers and defray expenses of the school attended by approximately 200 children. Joe appreciated the advantages of education more keenly because he never had any formal schooling. His literary accomplishments were limited to signing his name in printed capital letters.
In everything Joe was public spirited and was distinguished for his readiness to help others less fortunate. As a loyal American citizen, naturalized in 1902, he believed there was no other country in the world that responded so quickly to the efforts of an honest man as the United States of America. On November 7, 1927, when the bell at Saint Joseph's tolled its last respects to Joe, it had an echo from the school-bell in far-off Badoon,
Written April 1997
by Joe and Fannie's grandchildren.
[Non-transcribed Bristow Pioneers marker titles]
The Marshal J. Groom Family • Bristow High School Class of 1940 • The Cooper Family • Larry and Cheryl Coy • The Hake Family • Albert and Dorcas Kelly • The Kelly Family • Dunaway Funeral Home
The Newton Girls • The Bill Newton Family • The Earl Ford Family • Bill and Wanda Newton's Family • Bill and Virginia Boerstler • Coryell • The Mackensen Family • Haleem Joseph and Fadway Hamra • Westhafer Family and Business • Saint Joseph Catholic Church • Red Bird Shoe Shop • Bristow Garden Club • Bristow High School Class of 1932 • The McMillan Family • The James Johns Family • The McGehee Family • Ernest & Hazel Spriggs
The Chadderdon Family • The West Family
The Freeland Family • Roy A. and Ruth Bryan Krumme • Krumme Family Album
The Smith Family • The Bolins
Ethan A. Mills and Family • The Moore Family • The Ellis Family • First Christian Church • The Bud Greer Family • The F. M. Milburn Family • The Kemp Family • Bristow High School Class of 1933 • Dr. Martin A. Yourman - James E. Yourman • The
The Vining Family • The Bristow Wildflower Run • The Chapman Family • Stanley and Irene Henson • Henson Family Album
The Fosters • The Foster Family Album • Bristow High School Class of 1957 • The Fuscos • The Joneses • The Monfort Jones and Allie Brown Jones Foundation • Bristow Western Heritage Days • The Stanford Shoppe • Bristow Business and Professional Women's Club • Bristow High School Classes of 1941, 1942, 1943 • R. R. (Brick) Kirchner • The George S. Carman Family
Location. 35° 50.003′ N, 96° 23.437′ W. Marker is in Bristow, Oklahoma, in Creek County. Marker is on Main Street (Oklahoma Route 16/66), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Markers are in the plaza on Main Street, west of the former railroad passenger station. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 North Main Street, Bristow OK 74010, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bristow Concrete Walk (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); 45th Infantry (Thunderbird) Division (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cpl Larry E. Caldwell, US Army (approx. 0.9 miles away); SFC Donald J. Hurt, US Army (approx. 0.9 miles Major Quince L. Brown, USAAF (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cpl Peter W. Klingensmith (approx. 0.9 miles away); AMM1 Clifford Murl Satterfield, US Navy (approx. 0.9 miles away); USS Gunboat Charleston (PG 51) (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bristow.
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 951 times since then and 165 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.